HAM Radio 101

Word Origins: What does “DX” Mean?

On July 25, 2020, DX Engineering will be holding its first-ever, all-day combined virtual event, featuring the DXE Virtual Hamfest from 9 am to noon and DX Academy (see more below) from 1 to 5 pm.

Join Hams from around the world by registering here for this free event. It’s open to all.

As the name implies, DX Academy will focus on improving your DXing skills. With this in mind, we thought it would be appropriate to ask, “What does ‘DX’ mean and what is its origins?”

A remnant from the early days of wired communication, “DX” is telegraphic shorthand for “distance” or “distant.” It is believed that the X stood for “exchange.” When Ham operators say they are “working DX,” it means they are trying to contact a faraway station, or for shortwave listeners, attempting to tune in distant broadcasts.

What is deemed “distant” may depend on the frequency and your area of interest. For example, an amateur on the VHF/UHF bands (mostly used for local or regional contacts) or an operator using low power from, say, Florida, may consider reaching a station in Colorado a DX contact. Other 6 and 2M fans, using favorable propagation conditions, reach stations on the other side of the world to earn honors such as the ARRL VHF/UHF Century Club Award. For HF enthusiasts, DXing often takes the form of making QSOs with rare stations many thousands of miles away in an attempt to “Work the World,” earn rarefied status (e.g., the DXCC Honor Roll), and amass impressive collections of QSL cards.

If you’re thinking about upping your DXing game, spend the afternoon with this lineup of Hams at DX Academy (July 25), sponsored by Icom America and DX Engineering (all times EDT):

1 pm: Introduction by Tim Duffy, K3LR

1:15 pm: Jerry Rosalius, WB9Z, Low Band Antennas for DXing

2:15 pm: Ray Novak, N9JA, Icom Product Showcase, IC-705

2:45 pm: Glenn Johnson, W0GJ, VP6R DXpedition to Pitcairn Island

3:45 pm: Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, Operating Tools and Ideas for Becoming a Better DXer

Plus, here are a few DXing resources from OnAllBands:

For the transceivers, antennas, amplifiers, antenna analyzers, tuners, keys, digital interfaces, and the expert advice you need to elevate your DXing prowess, you’ll find everything at one source—DXEngineering.com.

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